Coptotermes acinaciformis termites : Incredibly Destructive and Voracious Species

downloadCoptotermes acinaciformis is a species of subterranean termites in the family Rhinotermitidae, native to Australia. Coptotermes acinaciformis is commonly found throughout Queensland particularly in urban areas or where eucalypt gum trees are highly prevalent. Coptotermes acinaciformis are a very secretive termite species; they build their nest out of sight, often within the base of eucalyptus or other susceptible trees, or completely under the ground; often within an enclosed patio or under concrete (on ground) flooring which is ideal for moisture retention, temperature and humidity control within the termite colony nest. This species often builds subsidiary nests away from the main colony nest. A subsidiary nest can be contained in a wall cavity of a building where there is a reliable moisture source, for example, from a leaking shower recess or faulty guttering or rusted downpipes.

download (1)Coptotermes acinaciformis are highly destructive in nature to buildings and other timber structures. They are the most widely distributed and destructive timber pests in Australia. A single colony may consist of more than one million termites. The most voracious timber pest one needs to be taken seriously. A previous study by Archicentre found that 650,000 homes nationwide were attacked by termites over a five-year period with average $10,000 damage. The most common and destructive — accounting for 70 per cent of all serious damage to buildings nationwide — is coptotermes acinaciformis.

Let’s have a look at how destructive these termites are in our day to day living.

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Queensland’s perfect conditions for termite movement, new threat emerges

Dec 13, 2014

The week’s hot and humid conditions are producing a plague of termites seeking new homes — and they could be headed for your place.

After months of dry weather, the stormy downpours in the last few days have created an ideal situation for the little timber-munching monsters, and pest management experts say millions of them are on the move.

 “You will get 200,000 of them flying from a colony on dusk seeking somewhere to establish new nests,’’ Dunrite Pest Control owner Steve Annells said.

“This weather is just about perfect for them. When it begins to rain, they spread quickly.’’

imagesQueensland has seven species of termites which pose a risk to property. The most common and destructive — accounting for 70 per cent of all serious damage to buildings nationwide — is coptotermes acinaciformis.

 They will often spread from nearby gum trees to properties in urban areas and establish nests under concrete working their way through behind walls where there is moisture from leaky plumbing or poor weatherproofing.A previous study by Archicentre found that 650,000 homes nationwide were attacked by termites over a five-year period with average $10,000 damage.

While improvements in building techniques, termite barrier installation and chemical treatment appear to be reducing damage in Queensland, a new threat is looming.

More than three times the size of more common types, it can tear through buildings quickly and has also been recorded as damaging rubber tyres and even bitumen.

Its traditional habitat has been the tropics of northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and parts of Western Australia. But changing weather patterns and warmer conditions have seen it expanding its territory — with colonies found as far south as the Gold Coast.

“Once they are here, they don’t just go away,’’ Mr Annells said.

“They are an incredibly destructive and voracious species. If they come through Brisbane, the old-style chemical barriers are not going to keep them out. That’s a big problem.’’

Mr Annells said the first time most people suspected they had a termite infestation was “when they push the vacuum cleaner head through the skirting board’’.

If householders found evidence of termites, it was essential not to disturb them before calling in professionals to eradicate the pests.

“That will just cause them to set up a nest somewhere else,’’ he said.

And he cautioned against the idea of ‘’sacrificial timber” such as leaving an old log in the backyard in the belief it would keep termites away from the house.

“While they are setting up a sub-nest in your garden, they are also looking to expand their colony so the house could well be next,’’ Mr Annells said.

Annual property inspections were important even after preventive treatments, and Mr Annells advised owners to look for an experienced pest controller with insurance and beware the lowest quotes.  “It’s ‘buyer beware’,’’ he said.

Thus a unique method needs to be devised to keep them away from our precious homes and gardens. C Tech Corporation, an Indian company has come up with a novel solution to counteract problems caused by such creatures. Termirepel ™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous termite/insect repellent which has been designed for various polymeric applications as well as natural materials like woods. It gives the best combination of chemistry and green practice to give an environmentally safe product which acts as a repellent effectively and at the same time guarantees safety to the environment, plants, animals and fragile ecosystem.

Termirepel does not kill but only keeps the insects away by making use of the sensory mechanisms. Aggressive species are further deterred from attacking by advanced mechanisms like aversion, feeding deterrents, mating disruption, reproduction cycle inhibition, growth impairment and chemo sterilization thus modifying their response towards the Termirepel containing products resulting in them staying away from the application. Thus, Termirepel actually helps in modifying insect behavior.

Termites: A nuisance but still an important species

The war between humans and insects, especially termites and ants is well known download (1)for ages. The moment people realize the presence of termites in their house, they rush to make a call to the exterminator. They do not care that the extreme measures like using hazardous chemicals to kill the entire colony of termites are taken. Termites are nuisance and they pose a great threat with their capability to reduce our house to dust. Termites attack wood and even have the ability to destroy polymer. Though termites do not actually eat plastic but release formic acid, which is one of the biggest enemies of the polymer. They are infamous for their various activities which results in heavy monetary losses and loss of images (3)valuable artifacts.

The other insects like ants, bugs also fall in the same category of the termites where damages are concerned. People do not bother when extreme measures of use of hazardous chemicals are adopted to kill the species as long as their home and belonging are protected from the viciousness of such insects. The termite problem is a big nuisance and has to be dealt with!!! – this is a fact. But is KILLING them the right solution?

Every being on this planet earth is a part of the ecosystem and serves some purpose so as to balance the entire ecosystem. It is the work of termites, carpenter ants, wood borers and other insects that help in the degradation of the wood. Termites eat wood, and they help to break down decaying tree trunks in the forest. Not only tree trunks, but branches, leaves, and plant matter which are too tough for other life forms to digest. Termites are the only ones that can break down wood on a mass scale. Without them, the fallen trunks of trees would soon pile up and kill the forest. There are some new reports which have come to light that termites and ants are also helpful in increasing the fertility of the land. The burden carried alone by earthworms, now have new aides with them –TERMITES and ANTS.

images (4)Termites and ants burrow in the soil, making numerous tunnels which permit air and water to penetrate the soil. This helps with aerating the soil and fixing nitrogen in the soil, which helps soil bacteria convert the nitrogen in the air into a form more easily absorbed by plant roots. So termites and ants help a lot with the growth of plants and trees in the forest.

Aggressive termites are found in Australia and are considered as one of the biggest threat to cables, plastic pipes and wooden structures. In spite of the nuisance caused by these aggressive termites the studies have shown that the termites and ants are beneficial for the agricultural land.

Termites and ants boost crop yields

BY: DAISY DUMAS | APRIL-6-2011

Rather than damaging crop yields, these insects have been found to enrich soil by more than one-third.

ANTS AND TERMITES HAVE long had a bad rap for stealing picnic food and imageschomping through house frames, but it turns out that their services are invaluable to Australian farmers.

New research from CSIRO and the University of Sydney has shown that, by performing an earthworm-like role in soil enrichment, the insects can boost crop yields in the dry areas of Australia’s wheat belt by more than one-third.

“The sheer size of the effect is what is most surprising to me,” says lead author Dr Theo Evans, from CSIRO Ecosystem Science in Canberra. “I didn’t think it’d have such a huge impact – a 36 per cent yield increase compared to my expected five per cent.”

The results suggest that ants and termites not only increase grain yields but can cut fertiliser bills and decrease the need for pesticides. “It’s likely to mean decreased pesticide use, especially pesticide that is applied to the ground,” Theo told Australian Geographic. 

Ants and termites have a positive affect on crop yield

Enriching soil is traditionally an earthworm role, but, say the CSIRO scientists, in arid zones it’s ants and termites that perform the important biological functions that worms do in the cooler and wetter zones.

These insects are able to re-colonise untilled wheat fields that have ‘crop stubble’, which they use for nourishment as they establish their underground nests. The activity helps more rainwater soak into the ground where plants need it most. The insects also increase the amount of nitrogen – a nutrient needed for plant growth – by a quarter.

The study, published last week in the journal Nature Communications, is the first of its kind to look at ants and termites in agricultural systems and is also the first to show that such insects have a positive effect on crop yield. It is possible that any ‘dryland’ farmland – non-irrigated agriculture – may benefit, Theo says. This includes wheat, oats, barley, rye, canola and perhaps, cotton.

“Poorer parts of the world which don’t irrigate may be positively affected,” he says. Theo sees potential benefits to swathes of marginal land in southern Africa, Brazil, Mexico and the Mediterranean, particularly “if the effect is true across broader soil types and across species.”

He hopes the research will take the ‘triple-bottom-line’ approach – people, planet and profit. “It might pay the farmer economically, but it could be that by harnessing ecosystem services, we could be better off in every way,”

Insects boost farm efficiency 

Farmer, Rohan Ford, whose property was used as field study site for the project, is images (6)buoyed by the results. “It’s great news. I think it’s a mindset – it’s about understanding what chemicals you can and can’t use, and how we can best use our machinery. The interesting thing, now the information is out there, to see whether we can get more funding to keep doing research into different soil types.”

Next, the team is keen to look into the extent to which termites act as nitrogen fixers – agents that convert nitrogen in the air into a form that plants can use in the soil. “They definitely enrich the soil, but we’d like to know which species provide the most benefit,” says co-author Dr Nathan Lo from the University of Sydney.

But Theo would also like to see the results imparting positivity towards the insects’ negative image. “You say the word ‘earthworm’ and people…know they do good. But 150 years ago, people wanted to kill them. Darwin rehabilitated their image in one of his final studies,” Theo says. “Maybe we can do a bit of a Charles Darwin for ants and termites.”

In African countries, farmers practice this style of farming since very old times. images (5)They practice includes burying a piece of wood in the soil or digging up a hole and fill it with manure to attract termites and ants. The yield in agriculture field was found to be increased by whopping 36% approximately because of the activity of termites on the field. This increase in yield is need of the hour as the number of mouths to be fed increases every second globally.

The most important and amazing fact is that the termites and ants have the download (2)ability to increase the fertility of the arid lands. This is definitely a unique property of termites as the species like  earthworm and other worms which are considered as best in increasing the fertility of the soil lack the ability to fertile an arid land. Certain termite species in tropical countries grow fungus within their nests which may go on to develop into large mushrooms that are edible and prized by the native people living there. These mushrooms are totally cultured and cultivated by termites! In Africa, these termite farmed mushrooms are a prized delicacy and include some of the largest mushrooms in the world.

Termites are the source of food for species like birds, frogs, frogs and ant eaters. It is believed that a sizable proportion of methane in the earth’s atmosphere is generated from the activities of termite colonies. It’s clear that not only are termites a major pest of wood, but looking at the big picture, they are needed for the overall health of this planet of ours.

Even other insects like some bugs, bees are beneficial. Ten years ago there were approximately 750,000 named insect species. Today, that number is over 1,000,000. And according to a recent article in Scientific American, entomologists estimate that there are likely over eight million different species of insects on Earth. Though many among these 8 million species of insects play a major a role in disrupting human life; they are a part of ecosystem and hence may be beneficial in some or other.

link_10_food_chain_song In his book The Diversity of Life, renowned entomologist Edward O. Wilson discusses the importance of insects and land-dwelling arthropods in the ecosystem, saying that “if [they] all were to disappear, humanity probably could not last more than a few months.” Most other life forms, like amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals would also become extinct because of the domino effect that would occur in the food chain.

Every living thing on this planet has some kind of place in the scheme of things, and insects even the destructive ones are no exception.

The bottom line is species like termites, ants, bugs, etc. are part of our ecosystem and hence have a useful role to play. So is it right to kill them using hazardous chemicals?

Agreed; that the above statements are true. But the fact remains that these termites, ants and other insects cause a lot of damages and heavy monetary losses. The study of termites and ants being beneficial species for agriculture is done in Australia; which is infact one of the countries where aggressive termites exist destroying everything in their path. One cannot turn a blind eye to these problems and let these creatures to vilify our belongings. We should adopt a solution which will protect our belongings like wooden structures, cables, pipes, crops, etc. from these creatures but not kill the species. Use of dangerous, hazardous and harmful pesticides does not fit the bill (they even harm the species which are known to be beneficial!!!).

C Tech Corporation truly believes that none of living creatures on the earth should be harmed or killed but it also acknowledges the far reaching termite and other pest problem. Termirepel™, a product of C Tech Corporation is non-toxic, non-hazardous and environment friendly termite repellent. Along with termites it also repels near about 500 other insects. The most important feature of our product is it does not kill the target or non-target species as it works on the mechanism of repellence. Termirepel™ can be incorporated in polymeric applications like wire, cables, plastic pipes, agricultural film etc. It is also available in lacquer form for coating application (can be mixed with finishes, polish, paints, etc.).

So if we want termites and ants to make our agricultural lands fertile and at the same time protect our crops and irrigation pipes from the same insects; use of Termirepel™ is the best option. It is highly efficient, effective and it is green and sustainable solution.

 

 

 

 

 

Mastotermes darwiniensis- A dangerous Australian termite!

downloadWhat do termites destruct the most? Your home, your beloved books, your shelter, your beautiful garden, but most of all they destruct your sense of peace and sense of safety. There is some amount of mental torture as these species multiply tenfold even before you get the hang of understanding how to eliminate them. It’s like you are running against time and there is some sort of one up game being played between you and the termites. Even if they are as small as few millimeters in size, the joke is on you.

There are different levels of how dangerous the termites are. Some are docile and human friendly, and some are most destructive and clearly number one human enemy. The species Mastotermes darwiniensis come in the second category.

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Mastotermes darwiniensiscommon names giant northern termite and Darwin termite, is a termite species found only in northern Australia. It is a very peculiar insect, the most primitive termite alive.  As such, it shows uncanny similarities to certain cockroaches, the termites’ closest relatives. These similarities include the anal lobe of the wing and the laying of eggs in bunches, rather than singly. It is the only living member of its genus Mastotermes and its family Mastotermitidae.

These species are subterranean species with 12.25 0.75mm in length with four castes namely king, queen, soldier and worker/reproductive.

imagesThe odd thing about Mastotermes is that while it is morphologically primitive, and has not changed its physical appearance much in many millions of years, its behavior and social structure are highly complex, and as derived as the termites that have evolved most recently of all. Mastotermes builds huge underground nest structures that contain extensive gallery construction and tunnel excavation; it forages far afield from the nest, and has been known to damage structures over a hundred yards away from its colony. Full-grown colonies contain over a million individuals, with rigid caste structures and obligatory sterility for the worker forms. This is a lot like the most-derived, most-recently evolved termites, like the great mound-builders of Africa. In contrast, the most termite-like cockroach and the next-most-primitive termites after Mastotermes all live and eat inside one piece of rotting wood, have very flexible development, do not have obligatory sterility in the worker forms, build no galleries and no tunnels, and are have many fewer group members.
Mastotermes darwiniensis build their nest (secretively) totally below the soil surface; or in the trunks and root crowns of trees and stumps. Once a nest is mature (over 100,000 or much higher) they can “split off “to form other nests over a wide ranging area. These sub nests are formed constantly and can sustain life for a long period of time without contact to the original nest.

Mastotermes darwiniensis is one of the world’s most destructive termite species, often causing severe damage to houses, buildings, bridges, posts, poles, and many other plant and animal products. It is also an agricultural pest, responsible for ring barking and killing living trees, shrubs, fruit, vegetable crops, sugarcane and rubber trees.

Mastotermes darwiniensis is also reported to attack rubber tyres on tractors and cause damage to leather, hide, plastic or lead-sheathed cables, bitumen, bagged salt, flour, glass and various metals. This is the most ancient of all the termites in the world – they occur only in Australia – a termite to be feared.

There was an article posted on Australian Website, Goldcost.com.au by Henry Tuttiett on October 15th, 2011, titled ”Terror termites found on gold coast”. The article was as follows:

AN established nest of the world’s most ferocious and aggressive termite has been discovered on the Gold Coast amid fears it could cause hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to property in the city.

The Mastotermes darwiniensis, commonly known as the great northern termite, was not thought to live south of the Tropic of Capricorn but a colony of the fast-spreading species was found in a western Gold Coast suburb two weeks ago.

The termite can cause severe damage to a home in only 12 weeks and is so aggressive it has been known to eat electrical wiring as well as the tyres of cane tractors, and even bitumen, in northern Australia.

Termite experts and entomology handbooks describe the species as “the world’s most destructive”.

Pest-Ex Pest Management owner Danny Kelly discovered the termite in a tree stump during a property inspection and said he realized the magnitude of his find almost immediately.

A Brisbane entomologist confirmed the species before the sample was taken to an industry conference in Townsville, where experts also verified it.

Mr. Kelly, who was himself attacked by the termites after his find, said if one colony was found on the Coast, there was a high likelihood there would be more.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation said a small colony of the “particularly destructive” species was found at Tallai in 2008.

Mr. Kelly said he had also spoken to the CSIRO about the discovery.

This is the amount of fear these species have incorporated in the mind of people living in Australia. The normal alternatives like insecticides are temporary and not very effective for such species. For particularly these species arsenic dust or chemical barriers are used.  They are toxic and leach out endangering the people coming in contact with them. It is a general convention that ‘Change is the only constant’. And the change required in today’s world need to be related to going green. Our product Termirepel ™ is the most viable alternative.

Termirepel ™ is an aversive for termites and insects. It works even against the most aggressive species.

It has unique qualities which range from being non toxic and non hazardous to being the magic word “ECO-FRIENDLY”. It does not leach out and is stable at high temperatures. It can be incorporated into polymeric applications as well as be used to give a coating on wood surfaces and timber derivatives. It is available in Liquid as well as lacquer form. Moreover, the most important characteristic of Termirepel™ is that it does not kill the target species. It works on the principle of REPELLANCE only. This product is niche and one of its kinds.  This product will come as sigh of relief for people long suffering from “Termite Abuse”, especially when the termites are as destructive as Mastotermes darwiniensis.

 

 

 

 

Thrips at large!

Found in a rainbow of North American plants from avocados to beans, onions, p1citrus trees and market flowers, thrips are tiny insects. These species that are plant feeders can scar leaf, flower or fruit surfaces with silvery speckling when they puncture and suck out the cell’s content. Conversely, heavy pest populations can severely distort flowers and damage fruit. Other thrip species function as beneficial insects by eating mites, fungal spores and pollen.

When thrips have fed on a bud, it will often fail to open; or if it does open, the flower will be deformed. Flowers upon which the thrips feed may also become streaked and/or discolored. When thrips feed on plant leaves, the leaves will dry out and appear speckled with silvery flakes. The leaves will eventually wilt and fall off.

p6To lay its eggs, the female thrip will make a slit in a leaf then lay 25 to 50 eggs within it. The eggs can develop into adults within three weeks, or sooner for some species. Many species of thrips also reproduce asexually. They can produce many generations in a single season.

In addition to damaging and feeding on plants, thrips are known to bite humans. They can cause both skin and respiratory irritation to people, according to the University of Michigan, particularly to workers in fields where infestations exist.

p5Thrips are small insects, only about 1/20″, but they can cause a lot of damage. At maturity, they are yellowish or blackish with fringed wings.  Nymphs have a similar shape but lack the wings. They are usually yellowish to white. Thrips are poor flyers. As a result, damage often occurs in one part of the plant then slowly spreads throughout it.

Thrips feed in buds, folded leaves, and other unexposed areas of plants. This makes them difficult to treat with an insecticide. They feed by sucking juices from the plant causing stippling, or small scars, on leaves, flowers and fruit. This results in stunting of the plant, leaf distortion and premature leaf drop. Flowers may be deformed and fail to open properly. Petals may show brown streaks and spots. Their excrement is black and shiny, which may be a clue to their presence.  In addition to this physical damage, thrips also transmit tomato spotted wilt virus p4and impatiens necrotic spot virus, for which there is no control.

If enough thrips attack a plant, the leaves may take on a silver streaked appearance. When there is a large enough infestations of thrips, the plant can be severely damaged. Fruits will not be able to fully mature.

In many species, thrips feed within buds and furled leaves or in other enclosed parts of the plant. Their damage is often observed before the thrips are seen. Discolored or distorted plant tissue or black specks of feces around stippled leaf surfaces are clues that thrips are or were present. However, some abiotic disorders, pathogens, and certain other invertebrates cap3n cause damage resembling that of thrips. For example, lace bugs, plant bugs, and mites also stipple foliage, and lace bugs and certain plant bugs produce dark, watery fecal specks. Look carefully for the insects themselves to be certain that pest thrips are present and the cause of damage before taking control action.

Thrips are poor fliers but can readily spread long distances by floating with the wind or being transported on infested plants. New thrips introductions can pose serious threats and complicate identification. A recent introduction of Klambothrips myopori has caused serious leaf and shoot galling damage to Myoporum laetum(ngaio tree) and Myoporum ‘Pacificum’ (a groundcover) along the coast of California. This thrips was both a new introduction and an undescribed species, so that initially not even the experts knew what to call it or how it might be managed. This species is now well established and from its original detection site in San Diego has spread north along the coast to at least as far as Santa Barbara. It is expected to continue to spread to wherever Myoporum species have been planted.

Thrips prefer to feed in rapidly growing tissue. Feeding by thrips typically causes tiny scars on leaves and fruit, called stippling, and can stunt growth. Damaged p2leaves may become papery and distorted. Infested terminals may discolor, become rolled, and drop leaves prematurely. Petals may exhibit “color break,” which is pale or dark discoloring of petal tissue that was killed by thrips feeding before buds opened. Thrips cause silvery to brownish, scabby scarring on the avocado and citrus fruit surface, but this cosmetic damage does not harm the internal fruit quality. Feces may remain on leaves or fruit long after thrips have left. Where thrips lay eggs on grapes, dark scars surrounded by lighter “halos” may be found on the fruit. Thrips feeding on raspberries, apples, and nectarines can deform or scar developing fruit; sugar pea pods may be scarred or deformed. Citrus thrips feeding severely distorts blueberry shoot tips and foliage, reducing fruit yield.

Western flower thrips are primarily pests of herbaceous plants, but high populations occasionally damage continuously- or late-blossoming flowers on woody plants such as roses. Some plant-feeding thrips are also predaceous on other pests, such as spider mites. In young cotton seedlings in California, western flower thrips is considered beneficial because it feeds on spider mites.

Behavior, body appearance, and host plants help to distinguish among thrips species. For example, three dark spots on each forewing distinguish the adult predaceous six spotted thrips from pest thrips. Adults of western flower thrips and onion thrips, are noticeably larger than avocado and citrus thrips adults, so mature body size helps to distinguish them when they occur together on the same host plant. However, thrips can be positively identified to species only by an expert. Fortunately, most thrips are susceptible to some of the same controls, such as exclusion and pesticides.

It is more important to distinguish among thrips species in situations where integrated pest management methods are used. For example, predatory thrips or other natural enemies are highly specific to certain pests and are likely to help control only certain species of plant-feeding thrips. Certain thrips occur on many different plants but damage only a few of the plant species on which they are found, so identifying the thrips species may reveal that it is harmless in that situation and no control action is needed. For example, avocado fruit skin is scarred by avocado thrips and greenhouse thrips, but citrus thrips and western flower thrips are harmless in avocado. Citrus thrips occurs on many species of plants but damages only blueberries and citrus.

Although thrips damage to leaves is unsightly, thrips activity does not usually warrant the use of insecticide sprays. For instance, while thrips damage on citrus or avocado fruit may look unpleasant, it does not harm trees or affect the internal fruit quality. When damage is noticed on ripening fruit or distorted terminals, the thrips that caused the injury are often gone. It’s not until later when tissue grows and expands that injury caused earlier becomes apparent. While viruses vectored by thrips may cause plant loss, insecticide sprays are not recommended to prevent viruses because thrips are not killed fast enough to prevent the transfer of the virus to new plants. Prevention of thrips infestations is the only way to prevent infection by thrips-vectored viruses.

This can readily by achieved by using C Tech Corporation patented product Termirepel™.

Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous broad spectrum insect aversive masterbatch which works not only against termites but a host of other insects including beetles, ticks, thirps etc. It has been incorporated in different kinds of films, cables and wires etc all over the world and is found to be effective against even the most aggressive insects. It is effective against a multitude of other insects including agricultural pests. It can be used for a number of applications including agricultural films, tarps, pipes, plastics, ducts, tubing and hosing, wires and cables, railways, aviation, mulches and the automobile sector.

For prevention from damage caused by Thirps, films incorporated with Termirepel™ can be used to cover the area or mulches can also be used to save the plants. Such films can also be wrapped around big fruits to prevent damage. All this can be done by just repelling the insect and not killing them. Thus, following the course of ecological balance and sustainability.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting Pecans from the Pecan Nut Casebearer!

pnc1Pecan trees are one of the most beloved trees of all time. And like all other trees, the yield of the tree, as well as their quality are governed by a number of environmental factors. Environmental conditions, management inputs, and pest pressure all have direct impacts on pecan yield or nut quality. One pest that is a major threat to the pecan tree is the pecan nut casebearer. The pecan nut casebearer is one of the most devastating nut-feeding insects that occur in pecans. They may damage the nuts and reduce the yield of the tree considerably.

The pecan nut casebearer is found throughout pecan growing regions from Florida to southern New Mexico. In Oklahoma, adult casebearer moths deposit eggs during late May or early June. Eggs are deposited on the tips of nuts shortly after tree pollination. After hatching, the larvae burrow into nuts. Each larva may damage an entire cluster. Pecan trees typically lose 75 percent of the pecans between nut set and shell hardening even when protected from insect damage.  As casebearer larvae feed on the inside of pecans, they push all their frass outside into a nice neat pile. The pecan nut casebearer has established itself in over 70 percent of the pecan-producing areas in the western region of New Mexico. Within the next four years, it is estimated that these bugs will establish in the majority of the remaining pecan acres.

pecan-nut-casebearer-damageLarval feeding prior to hard shell typically results in significant damage to the nut, formation of an abscission layer, and loss of the nut. During the period of the pecan’s shell hardening a percentage of nuts are susceptible to yield loss caused by late second- and early third-generation larvae. Crop loss during the late second generation can be particularly damaging to final yield. This period of time is after August drop, so affected nuts represent direct yield loss. Damaged nuts before August drop represent potential yield loss. Although these insects cannot penetrate the shell, larvae feed and tunnel freely within the husk, along the shell, and at the point of attachment between the husk and the peduncle. Damage due to PNC feeding during this period does not normally result in a loss of a nut but can possibly reduce nut quality.

The below article would better explain the damage by these insects.

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Sneaky bugs bother pecans

April 5, 2015

By Jeff Floyd

West Texas Pecan trees declare the arrival of spring by breaking bud around this time each year.  Unfortunately, the tender little buds don’t go unseen by the pecan nut’s most destructive insect pest, the pecan nut casebearer.

DSC_0005The sneaky casebearers survive the winter as tiny larvae in protective cocoons.  They construct their cocoons of silk near the base of dormant buds some place on the pecan tree.  As temperatures warm in early spring, the larvae dig into the tender developing twigs and begin feeding.  

 Eventually, the larvae pupate into somewhat plain-looking moths which embark on a search for suitable mates.  Male casebearers locate mates by using receptors on the end of their antennae to detect a unique scent.  These scents, known as pheromones, are produced only by the female casebearer.

Although the pest may have up to four generations per year, it is the first two generations that cause the most damage to pecan nuts.  Third and fourth generations often emerge too late in the season to cause much harm.  The most effective method of controlling casebearers is a contact insecticide applied before they crawl into the protective husk of the pecan nut.

What we need is a solution that helps protect our plants and trees from damage, while at the same time does not harm the environment in any way. So, how do we fight this pest?  Keep reading!

At C Tech Corporation, we offer a safe and foolproof solution to deal with these tiny insects. Termirepel™ is a non-toxic, non-hazardous product that primarily repels insects from the application. It is a broad spectrum repellent which works against almost 500 species of pestering bugs thus efficaciously fending them away from the application. The best feature of this product is that it is environmentally safe and causes no harm to the insect as well as humans and the environment. It is available in masterbatch and lacquer form, and as a liquid solution. To keep these insects at bay, this product can be coated on the tree trunks in lacquer form or added in mulches or films. The repelling mechanism of the product would ward off the pecan nut casebearer and any other insect that could harm our trees.